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With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Maritime Lecturer

Please Note: All ssMaritime and other related maritime/cruise sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any shipping or cruise companies or any travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960, although is now retired but having completed around 680 Classic Liners and Cargo-Passengers Ships features I trust these will continue to provide classic ship enthusiasts the information the are seeking, but above all a great deal of pleasure! Reuben Goossens.

Eleusis Bay Greece

Photographed by the late Captain Yiorgos (George) Graikos

Page One

Please Note: This page is obviously long out of date for the ships featured have long left these waters and have headed for those filthy polluted beaches in Bangladesh or India and have now been broken up. Therefore, I decided to leave these two rather tragic pages online as a memorial of these wonderful old ships and the many other fine classic liners and cruise ships that have now sadly gone, yet for so many of us the memories remain!

Photographs on this page are quite remarkable covering those ships that were laid up at the time at Eleusis Bay. Most were taken mid 2003 others were taken from one month to just one day before departure for Alang India. I am so grateful to the late Captain Graikos and his family for his generosity in sharing these photographs with ship lovers from around the world and in this way we can remember some of these much loved ships.

Above: Captain Yiorgos (George) Graikos seen on the Bridge of Stella Solaris on 11 November 2003, taken just one day prior her departure for Alang India. George passed away on the 2nd of March 2004

Obviously for ship lovers, these are sad images knowing that some have already been beached at Alang and are in the process, or have already been scrapped. However, these photographs do give us an opportunity to say goodbye. The tragedy is, a number of these ships were in perfect condition and could have sailed on until 2010 when the new SOLAS regulations take effect. However, it was not to be.

Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian

Ocean Explorer I

Ex Emerald Seas, Atlantis, LaGuardia, President Roosevelt, Leilani, General W.P. Richardson


1944 built Ocean Explorer I, was built as part of the M.S.T.S transport fleet.

Later she became the famed President Roosevelt, before her varied cruise career.

Photo taken July 2003

Captain Graikos told the author that he boarded her on January 05 2004, and reported … “This vessel is a living treasure! Its inside is like new. Everything is in the proper order, even the forks and the knives in the galleys, carpets, furniture, rooms, everything is like new!” He feels that this is “another ship worth saving” considering her ready to sail state.

President Roosevelt seen after her reconstruction in 1960/62 (1)

She was built in 1944 as a P2 “General” class transport ship for the US Navy. In May 1949, she was given a US$ 4 million refit to become the Laguardia entering the New York Italy service. In 1956, the Hawaiian Steamship Company bought her, however, this venture failed. In 1960, American President Lines obtained her and sent her to Seattle for a massive US$ 10 million reconstruction. She came out of it as a luxurious (first class only) passenger liner. She entered the Asian route in May 1962. She became the preferred ship of Hollywood stars. A good number of movies were made on her.

In 1970, she sold to Chandris Lines who renamed her Atlantis. She cruised from American ports for just over one year, after which she was sold to Ares Shipping in 1972 and continued her US cruising duties, renamed Emerald Seas. Later she was obtained by the Eastern Steamship Company and continued her cruise duties managed by Admiral Cruises Inc.

Festival Cruises purchased her in 1992, having been a successful ship for Admiral Cruises for 20 years. She was renamed Sapphire Seas and commenced cruising around Egypt and Israel. In October 1994, she was laid up at Piraeus. Mid 1998, she was renamed Ocean Explorer I and was used in Lisbon part of three Hotel ships for Expo 98, after which, she returned for lay up at Eleusis Greece. She operated a 4-month world cruise from 20 Nov 1999 to 25 March 2000, chartered by World Cruise Company of Ontario Canada. Upon completion, she was laid up at Eleusis Bay. Her owners have kept her in top condition, including her exterior paintwork.

Photo taken July 2003

Ocean Explorer I was sold to Indian breakers and was broken up.



The French cruise ship operated by Penhoet’ the MV Mermoz be came the Serenade

The 13,691 GRT Serenade was built in 1956 as the Jean Mermoz. Built by Penhoet, St Nazaire. She was one of two well-known French “Fraissinet Liners.” Her earlier sister was the General Manhin built five years earlier. Both operated on the Marseille-Point Noire service having accommodation for 394 in three classes. In 1965, she was transferred to Paquet Lines and continued her service until 1970.


Jean Mermoz seen as built

With the loss of loadings to air travel, Paquet sent her to the Mariotti Shipyards in Genoa, who rebuilt her into an attractive fulltime cruise ship with accommodations for 570 passengers in twin bedded cabins. An additional 92 could be accommodated using all upper berths available. Renamed Mermoz, she commenced cruising. She catered mostly to the French holidaymaker. She received a three-month refit in 1984/85 in Marseilles, after which she recommenced cruising.

In 1991, she was registered under the ownership of Sodimarit SA Nassau. Louis Cruises renamed her Serenade. Louis Cruises operate all their ships on mini cruises of the Mediterranean. The Serenade was laid up in 2003 at Eleusis. The company has chartered a number of their ships to Thompson Cruises.

Please Note: Although Serenade has remained on the market, she cruised between spring and autumn and continued to do so successfully!

The Serenade seen with the Sapphire behind her

Taken December 2003



Regent Star

Ex Rhapsody, Holland America Lines ss Statendam


Regent Star ex Holland America’s Statendam

Photo taken July 2003

Regent Star was built in 1957 as the Holland America luxury liner SS Statendam for the trans-Atlantic service as well as a popular cruise ship. She was built mostly as a tourist class ship, but she offered accommodation for 84 first class passengers located topside what was knows as the Penthouse up on Boat Deck.

Holland America Lines Statendam seen in 1958 (1)

Statendam’s Dimensions: 24,294 GRT, 642 x 79 ft, engines steam, DR geared turbines, twin screw, 19 knots, 84 first class, 867 tourist.

With the decline of trans-Atlantic traffic, Statendam was sold in 1982 to Paquet Cruises and renamed Rhapsody. She now began her life as a full time cruise ship.


 Rhapsody cruising Alaska (1)

In 1986, she was sold to Latis Group and renamed Regent Star. The ship was operated by Regency Cruises until the company folded in September 2000. She was laid up until 2004, when she was sold to Indian breakers. On 14 March 2004, Regent Star departed Eleusis with the name Harmony I painted on her bow. She has now been broken up.


She was sold for scrap and departed Eleusis Bay on 14 March, renamed Harmony (1)


Olympia 1

Olympia 1 has an unusual structure aft of her funnel

Photo taken July 2003

She was built in 1953 at Livorno Italy named Achilleus. She has been registered in Greece until this day. She operated cruises to Brindisi, Piraeus, Alexandria, Haifa, Beirut, Limassol, and Piraeus until 1958. She was sold to Olympic Cruises who continued her cruise duties around the Mediterranean and Adriatica until 1994. However, we discovered that somewhere in the mid sixties she was renamed Orion.

Due to financial problems, she was laid up at Eleusis in 1994. In 1995, under the name of Thomas II she entered a two-year static role as a floating restaurant, which was located behind the windows topside. In 1997, she was purchased by Royal Olympic Cruises and renamed Olympia I. ROC only operated her for one year, after which she was again laid up at Eleusis in 1998. She became the Olympic Sun, but was sold and was sold and broken up under the name Sun.

Seen here with a Helipad at her stern

Photo taken July 2003


Return to Eleusis PAGE ONE


Photographs on this page are … 1. By Captain Yiorgos Graikos. 2. From the author’s private collection. 3. As provided by the relevant shipping Companies. 4. As provided by individuals with due credit given when this is available.


“Blue Water Liners sailing to the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.”



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Please Note: ssmaritime and associated sites are 100% non-commercial and the author does not seek funding or favours and never have and never will.

Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are either by the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images and photographs that have been provided by Shipping Companies or private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors, however, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer or owner concerned. Therefore, I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me (my email address can be found at the bottom of the page on, in order that due credit may be given.

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